UMass softball falls to Boston College in extras

Minutewomen split season series with Eagles

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UMass softball falls to Boston College in extras

By Amin Touri, Collegian Staff

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Despite climbing out of an early hole with a sixth-inning rally, the Massachusetts softball team fell to Boston College at home on Wednesday, 6-2 in extra innings.

The Minutewomen erased a 2-0 deficit in the sixth to force extra innings, but the Eagles struck back with four runs in the top of the eighth to split the season series.

“We had some really good things go on, we had some good innings, and unfortunately the ones that were bad were why the result was what it was,” said UMass coach Kristi Stefanoni. “Going into the weekend, our goal today was just to get as prepared as possible, and treat today as practice for going into this weekend, and treating it as if we’re going into the championship series. That’s kind of what these midweek games are for, and I thought BC was great competition for that. If anything, we learned how to be better for this weekend if we get ourselves into these same situations.”

Freshman Kenadee Rausch got the ball for the Minutewomen, and turned in a solid outing in her 10th start of the season.

After cruising through the top of the first, setting the first three Eagle batters down in order, Rausch started to run into trouble in the second. After walking Gianna Boccagno to open the inning and allowing a bunt single to Ellie Mataya, Rausch got Gianna Randazza to ground out while Boccagno and Mataya moved to second and third.

Rausch struck out Jenna Ergle on a breaking ball in the dirt, but it got away from catcher Madison Gimple and Boccagno scurried down the line and scored the game’s first run. BC designated hitter Carly Severini then singled to right to bring home Mataya, and while Rausch loaded up the bases after two more singles, the freshman hurler managed to induce one more groundball to escape the inning down just 2-0.

Rausch settled down and threw three scoreless innings after a tricky second, exiting after five innings having allowed two runs on six hits and a walk, striking out three.

“Yeah, I thought she did a really nice job of keeping the ball down,” Stefanoni said. “She faced a good offense and I thought she did well against them.”

Susannah Anderson started in the circle for the Eagles and kept the Minutewomen largely quiet, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless before giving way to freshman Camryn Dolby with two runners on in the sixth.

UMass struggled to get its bats going at the right time early on, stranding two runners on base in each of the first four innings, and another in the fifth.

“We left 13 people on base,” Stefanoni said. “We just didn’t finish when we needed to. Whether that was, we either struck out looking, didn’t put the ball in play, popped the ball up — I did think, however, that this team did a much better job of hitting hard ground balls today, that was one of our biggest goals, getting on top of the ball, and we did that, we forced them to play defense. A couple of them just didn’t get through.

“But leaving 13 people on base, I don’t care if you’re striking out or hitting ground balls, we’re still leaving 13 people on base, that’s a big hit.”

The Minutewomen finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth — Caroline Videtto drew a walk, Kendra Allen took the first pitch off her ankle and Hannah Bunker dropped a blooper behind third base to load them up — when Erin Stacevicz worked a walk to bring in Videtto.

Kaitlyn Stavinoha smoked a grounder to short that was vacuumed up by BC’s Kennedy Labshere who threw Allen out at home, but the bases remained loaded and Dolby continued to struggle with her control, walking Kaycee Carbone to tie the game, as both runs were charged to Anderson.

Taking over from Rausch, junior Quinn Breidenbach needed a couple good defensive plays in the top of the seventh, but got through unscathed. Dolby made quick work of the Minutewomen in the bottom half, and the two teams needed extras.

The Eagles struck quickly in the top of the eighth, when Labshere laced one into left-center to bring Randazza flying around third. Stacevicz uncorked a laser from center but her throw was just late, and BC led 3-2.

Lexi DiEmmanuele broke it open a batter later, as a grounder snuck through Bunker’s legs to bring two runners home and make it 5-2. The Eagles managed to add one more before the inning was out, hanging four runs on the board in the eighth.

The Minutewomen couldn’t muster a rally in the bottom half, and fell 6-2 in extras.

“Coach was just saying after the game, there are things that we know that we did wrong,” Stavinoha said. “We bobbled the ball on defense and we just didn’t come through in the big situations. It’s not good to lose, but at least we know what caused it, and we can fix that for the weekend.”

UMass will head to Dayton this weekend to continue A-10 play with a three-game set with the Flyers.

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.